Today at the BusinessObjects conference, I had an interesting discussion with a developer who liked our GMaps Plugin technology, but claimed that it was cheaper, and better to build his own Google Maps integration.
Build vs Buy should always be a consideration when you evaluate the cost of procuring technology vs funding the development yourself. However, the first rule is: “nothing is free” when you are using it for profit. In the Google Maps case, I explained that even if he could construct his Google Map experience within a day or two, he would hit two major roadblocks:
Licensing: Google Maps is NOT free for enterprise use. In other words, if you deploy Google Maps behind your corporate firewall, you are required to have Google Maps Premier annual licence. Centigon Solutions has negotiated and bundled the annual Google Maps service and discounted it within GMaps Plugin Bundle which is significantly cheaper than the entry level Google Maps Premier. I had explained to this developer that even if his time was worth $0, his organization would still pay more than double to Google, just for the annual service with nothing to show. GMaps Plugin bundle is an end to end solution which includes the developer tool and the annual service so just on this single roadblock, I was done making my case.
Integration: The most experienced Adobe Flex developer will still initially struggle through the mine field that is the Xcelsius SDK. Evan DeLodder has done a great job to help document some best practices and techniques on the Flexcelsius blog and his recent book, Creating Dashboards with Xcelsius. Without the flexibility to modify and configure the map inside Xcelsius, this developer would have to modify the source code every time the map needs to change. I can see a scenario where this has its benefits to gain complete control, but the cost of that control is significantly more expensive, especially if that developer leaves the company.
With the recent release of version GMaps Plugin 2.1 we have re-engineered how we render markers to squeeze every bit of performance out of Google Maps Flash API which was the result of hundreds of hours in development and testing. I think sometimes developers can under estimate the real time required to properly architect and deliver a solution vs “make it work”.
It was a good exercise to hear this point view, and I am hoping that it results in this consultant relaying the information to his organization and not going down a route that will ultimately cost a lot of money and cause a big headache!..Let me know what you think…